We have been very lucky to have the awesome Emma working for us here at The Vintage Toy Box in our Moss Vale toy store - she has been a breath of fresh air, a trusted and much valued employee, a window dresser extraordinaire, and now a great friend. Just before we close up the Moss Vale store in a couple of weeks to spend more time with our family, we wanted to capture Emma’s experience of sharing one of the most rewarding adventures that we’ve been on. Thank you Emma for being such a fabulous member of our toy store family - we couldn’t have done it without you!! Over to you Emma …
“Goodbye #UpperArgyle” by Emma Stuart
When I first applied for the job at The Vintage Toy Box I never imagined that working here would be so much fun. I mean, I knew working in a toy shop would be fun, but the vibe and energy that comes from the shop is way better than an average run-of-the-mill generic toy shop. There’s something really special about The Vintage Toy Box. The shop has been such a great place to work, the atmosphere and being around toys made my day – everyday. Not many people get to work in a place that they love to work in, nor do they get to have as much fun as I did as they work.
What made it more fun was the people. Customers, people just popping in to say hello, the local kids running in for their lollies after school, the local businesses that support each other, and of course my boss, Saskia (edit: Emma had to say that!).
I am so lucky to have had this experience. Saskia is such an awesome boss lady (edit: and again!). She accepted my areas for development and pushed me to the full potential of my strengths. She has helped me build my confidence and encouraged my creative side, which has expanded so much since I started working at The Vintage Toy Box.
Saskia asked me to put together a little write up about my favourite experiences working in the shop. It was so very hard to choose just a few, but here goes ….
I loved working on the window displays because not only did it showcase some of the awesome toys waiting just inside the door, but I loved watching people walking by, stopping to have a look and walking off with a smile. I’ve often wondered what triggered those smiles, was it a memory from their childhood? Maybe they played that hopscotch game at school; ran around the backyard with Spud Guns with their siblings; they could have had a toy robot similar to the one staring back at them through the window or maybe they played that board game with their family on family game night. It didn’t matter the reason behind the smile, it was just nice to know that just a peek through the window was enough to make someone smile.
I really enjoyed doing research and learning about the history of toys. How they used to be made and played with in the past is so intriguing to me. It is fascinating seeing through the decades how the toys have changed and what became popular based on the world changing, during and after war time and the difference new technology impacted the sale of toys and changed the way they were made.
Another personal favourite thing of mine about the shop is the stories that people would tell while they were shopping. Whether it was a story about begging their parents for a wind-up tin plane and how happy they were to open one up on Christmas morning, how they’ve treasured it over the decades and how it still sits on their shelf, or how they used to save the bone out of a lamb hock after a Sunday night roast and after they collected them up over a few weeks they would have enough to play Jacks with them. Stories about how they used to make knitting dolls out of old sewing bobbins and nails, or sitting down with a sibling or parent to draw and cut out outfits for paper dolls. Eagerly waiting outside the back shed door for their father to put the finishing touches on their wagon so it was ready to race with the kids down the road. It is so interesting to hear of the way toys used to be made by families who couldn’t afford to go to the shop and by the latest toys. I also enjoyed hearing the friendly bickering between family members as they reminisce about playing and there was always one cheeky cheater … who still denies it!
One day I was sitting at the front counter doing some history of toys research and I had Fleetwood Mac up full volume through the speaker, singing along as I worked and a nice lady worked in. I awkwardly laughed with embarrassment as I rushed to turn down the volume, she just laughed and said ‘turn it back up, I love Fleetwood Mac!’ so up went the volume and she sang as she shopped; it was great!
So there you have it, a few of my favourite memories from working at The Vintage Toy Box and what is next for me? Well, I’ll still be around, in the background, still researching, writing, putting together social media posts and helping Saskia with community events and all the new exciting things that she has planned and of course – turning up Fleetwood Mac until the speaker beeps at full volume.
Until next time, Emma. x
If you want to show your appreciation for Emma, as much as we do, vote for us in the Australian Local Business Awards https://thebusinessawards.com.au/business/48911/The-Vintage-Toy-Box . Go on, it’ll make Emma’s day.